SAFEGUARDS | SoftlinesNO. 154/20
In April 2019, the CPSC issued a Request for Information (RFI) seeking information about possible exemption of spandex from testing under the Standard for the Flammability of Clothing Textiles at 16 CFR 1610 as well as information about the equipment and procedures specified in the standard and possible ways to update those provisions to reduce the burdens associated with the testing requirements.
Recently, the CPSC published a “Briefing Package – Status Update: 16 CFR Part 1610 Rule Update and Final Action for Exempting Spandex from Testing” to address comments received from the 2019 RFI on several potential revisions to the standard.
Industry members requested that the Commission add spandex to the list of exempted fibers in 16 CFR part 1610.1(d), however, after review from the Commission staff, it was concluded that the spandex data provided from the RFI does not provide a sufficient body of results to justify an exemption from flammability testing for the various types of spandex-containing products that would be subject to an exemption. Some research even suggested that spandex may increase the burning behavior of fabrics. Therefore, Commission staff does not recommend exempting spandex from 16 CFR part 1610 flammability testing at this time. Commission staff will continue to collect and develop sufficient data to do a complete flammability analysis of spandex.
Based on the comments received from RFI, CPSC staff recommends pursuing testing to identify potential alternatives to update equipment and procedures in the standard that are no longer available or need clarifying and pursuing rulemaking to propose updates. Commission staff recommends additional testing and analysis to determine appropriate updates for the stop thread, refurbishing, and test code requirements. Depending on the results, staff may recommend issuing a notice of proposed rulemaking (NPR) in the future to update these requirements.
- Stop Thread – the stop thread requirements have generated confusion about the appropriate thread to use and the thread CPSC has used, which complies with the standard, is no longer identifiable on the market. Accordingly, clarifying and updating the requirement would provide for more consistent testing and results.
- Refurbishing (laundering and dry-cleaning) – the required refurbishing equipment, including dry-cleaning solvent and washing machines, have limited availability, or are being phased out; so suitable replacements should be identified that are readily available.
- Burn Code Clarification – the test result codes for raised surface fabrics are unclear, and need to be clarified for industry members to use properly and effectively.
The Standard for the Flammability of Clothing Textiles -16 CFR part 1610 applies to all clothing textiles and fabrics used or intended for use as clothing textiles and aims to reduce the risk of injury or death by prohibiting the use of dangerously flammable clothing textiles. The regulation provides testing requirements, establishes three classes of flammability, sets out the criteria for classifying textiles and prohibits the use of textiles that exhibit rapid and intense burning.
The standard exempts certain fabrics from testing based on consistent acceptable results that do not exhibit rapid and intense burning behaviours when tested in accordance with the standard. There are plain surface fabrics, regardless of fiber content, weighing 2.6 ounces per square yard or more; and all fabrics, both plain surface and raised-fiber surface textiles, regardless of weight, made entirely from any of the following fibers or entirely from a combination of the following fibers: acrylic, modacrylic, nylon, olefin, polyester and wool.
SGS Global Softlines has an extensive network of over 40 laboratories worldwide, with a strong team of committed professionals from multi-disciplinary backgrounds. Our internationally accredited state-of-the-art testing laboratories offer a comprehensive range of physical, chemical and functional testing services for components, materials and finished products. We help your company ensure quality, performance and compliance with international, industrial and regulatory standards worldwide. Discover more at www.sgs.com/softlines.
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